© 2020 Banking on New Jersey

Our Mission is to bring the value of a municipally owned public bank to New Jersey. We envision a public institution managed professionally, guided by strong citizen oversight, and accountable to the public as its only stockholders. The bank will have flexibility to support current community needs and foster resilience in the face of economic and natural hardships. We promote a bank that works in partnership with local banks, credit unions and community development financial institutions to make loans in our local communities.

Why a Public Bank?

Over past decades, investor-owned private banks have put their own gain before the well-being of the people and businesses they serve and the cities in which they operate. The result has been a tightening of credit just when our communities, small and medium-sized businesses, homeowners, and public projects need it most. Instead, short-term profits have been sought in stocks, derivatives and other speculative investments. Likewise, high-end development proposals have been favored instead of affordable housing, infrastructure improvements, and business expansions which create local employment opportunities. Our cities and towns require a public service bank that lends at affordable rates rather than at higher rates and fees that support short-term investor profit and excessive executive pay and bonuses. We need a bank that reduces the cost of public projects because its participating municipalities will not charge themselves high interest and finance fees. We need a bank whose profits are returned to municipal coffers thereby raising revenue and protecting government services from budget cuts. Such a bank would also protect public money and pensions from risky Wall St. investments. A public bank working in partnership with community banks ensures that local money works locally and stays local supporting development and businesses that build up our neighborhoods and increase our common wealth.


How would a public bank be structured? A public bank would receive on deposit all government revenues including taxes and fees. The bank would pay each member government’s obligations. Based on its capitalization and deposit base, the bank would lend proportionately in each of its member communities. It makes these loans in partnership with community banks which qualify borrowers and keep loan origination fees. Because it does not operate as a retail bank taking in deposits from individuals and businesses, the public bank is not in competition with local community banks. The public bank will use the latest technology to balance the needs of participating communities and to efficiently, transparently, and securely carry out its democratic mandate.


We work with the national Public Banking Institute, and seek to work with other community banking organizations, as well as other community-minded people and groups in New Jersey. Public banking is an idea whose time has come and one from which we all stand to gain. We welcome your participation in making it happen.


How can you help? Currently, we’re recruiting individuals with strong backgrounds in banking, public administration, economics or community development to serve on an advisory committee for our group. We also welcome invitations to speak to community, civic, and business groups. To get in touch with us, fill out our contact form or phone 609-921-2149. We also welcome questions about our work and public banking in general—explore our site and check back as we post more information, or send us your questions and ideas.

About Us

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Joan Bartl is an honored New Jersey business owner in financial payment services, a former publisher and media executive, an engaged social justice advocate and a national research pioneer in gender-role stereotyping.

A resident of Princeton since the late 1960’s, Joan continues to deploy her diverse professional skills to her concerns about economic justice and fairness, world hunger, domestic violence and women’s equality issues.  Her activism in these areas earned her the prestigious award as one of Princeton’s “Outstanding Women of the Year” in 2015.

While mothering two children in the early 1970’s, Joan helped open a critically important new national discussion about gender-stereotyping in children’s textbooks which led to dramatic changes in the early texts read by young readers. As Founder of “Women on Words and Images”, co-author of “Dick and Jane As Victims” and two other research documents, Joan’s work captured the attention of major media outlets and pioneered a landmark series of studies and publications now integrated into feminist cultural awareness. She has produced numerous media programs on the topic and presented lectures to educators, parents and curriculum publishers. Joan was named a Veteran Feminist of America in 2013.

Joan has also taken leadership in broadcast media and publishing. She was the first woman sales director of a prominent radio station in New Jersey and  later became Founding Partner and Associate Publisher of New Jersey Monthly Magazine and Goodlife Magazine’s New Jersey edition.  She was instrumental in helping establish the Alliance for Public Broadcasting, a transaction-based fundraising platform for public radio and TV nationwide.

Her pioneering leadership continued in 2013 with active roles in the newly launched public banking movement. Working with leaders of the Public Banking Institute she co-launched Banking On New Jersey, a non-profit citizen initiative dedicated to creation of a state-owned public bank. In the following years, Joan provided fundamental support for both the national effort and the on-going evolution of the state-based initiative; included in that history was introducing and consulting Governor Phil Murphy on the topic for his campaign, prior to the formal announcement of his candidacy.

Her business-to-business merchant services company, Payment Management, has an office and staff in Princeton.  Joan has served on the Boards of several national payment companies and has received numerous awards as an industry leader and innovator.

Joan is also a veteran member of the Board of Directors of Womanspace, a prominent domestic violence services organization; she has also served the board of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization and is a member of the Princeton Chamber of Commerce, the New Jersey Work Environment Council, Working Families, Blue Wave, New Jersey Policy Perspective, New Jersey Future and Jersey Renews.

Joan acquired her educational background at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University and the University of Richmond.

Joan Bartl

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A prominent national leader of the movement to create publicly-owned banks in American cities, counties and states, Walt McRee has been central in helping organize and expand adoption of public banking for the past nine years throughout the United States. His work in the field builds on several decades of leadership in a variety of social and civic concerns.

As an early leader in the formative years of the Public Banking Institute (PBI), Walt joined its Board of Directors in 2014 and became its Chair and CEO in 2015, during which time he led significant expansion of PBI’s organizational capacity and public understanding of public banking.  As PBI’s Chair Emeritus and Senior Advisor, Walt has consulted scores of elected and legislative officials and presents frequently to civic organizations, public policy think-tanks and the media, and continues his active partnership with the PBI Board.

Among his accomplishments in the field are workshops and private consultations with legislators in over 20 states, drawing on his extensive working relationships with key economists, bankers and public policy leaders who are actively engaged in development of public banking applications. Walt originated, hosts and produces the networked radio program “It’s Our Money with Ellen Brown” and “The Public Bank Solution” TV program.

In 2013, Walt helped launch the PA Project, a Pennsylvania-focused public bank initiative and the following year helped launch Banking On New Jersey, both focused on bringing public banks to those states. In 2017, he established Public Banking Associates (PBA) ( the largest consortium of public banking experts and consultants from banking, government, economics and public policy. PBA’s first foray was a workshop for WA State, Seattle, Tacoma and other state public agency executives which led to further statewide and city study of public banking prospects.

Prior to his work in public banking, Walt founded and was CEO of the Alliance for Public Broadcasting, Inc which pioneered a breakthrough transactional fundraising mechanism for public radio and TV stations nationwide. His media work began decades prior as a radio journalist, on-air personality and national voice talent. As a media professional, Walt helped create the first national media committee for the International Hunger Project and was president of the Philadelphia Hunger Project Committee.

Walt also helped launch and led a prominent citizen action campaign for the Delaware River which attracted national attention and resulted in a portion of the river being declared “Wild and Scenic” and establishing a river protection network.  Other social service leadership included his founding and Board membership of the Sorg Opera House in Middletown, OH. Walt was also president of the chamber music series, SummerMusic in Blowing Rock (NC).

Walt also has a significant history of home building and community development, with two 40-acre residential community development projects in North Carolina: MountainTop Community in the mountains of NW NC, and The McRee Trace in Newton, NC.

Walt received his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Geography from Valparaiso University.

Walt McRee


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